On Monday AT&T announced that they are pulling the NFL Network from DIRECTV NOW & U-verse TV. This comes as AT&T and the NFL are in talks over changes to the NFL Sunday Ticket with the real possiblity that the NFL will pull back rights to NFL Sunday Ticket from AT&T. Now the Sports Business Daily reported that AT&T never told the NFL that they planned to drop the NFL Network. According to SBD this could be a last-ditch attempt by AT&T to keep the NFL Sunday Ticket bundled with AT&T’s TV services.
Here is the message posted on AT&T’s website about the loss of the NFL Network:
Our rights to provide the NFL Network in your TV lineup have expired. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.
The NFL Network and RED ZONE CHANNEL® remain available to all fans on DIRECTV. However, as we continue to manage content costs, we could not reach an agreement with the NFL to continue to carry those channels on U-verse and DIRECTV NOW.
This comes as the NFL has hinted that they plan to take an out built into their contract and end DIRECTV’s exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket deal that DIRECTV has had since before AT&T owned the service. Back in March, the NFL Commissioner said: “We’re having great discussions with DirecTV and AT&T,” Goodell said. “We’ve had a 25-year partnership and we want to continue that partnership, but we also are looking to see how we can change the delivery.” Roger Goodell went on to say. “We’re looking to make sure that we continue to deliver this package, which is a premium package of great content,” Goodell said. “We want it delivered on several different platforms.”
For now, we will have to wait and see if the NFL Network deals with U-verse and DIRECTV NOW ending is a sign that NFL Sunday Ticket contract with AT&T is ending. We do know that NFL Sunday Ticket will still be on DIRECTV this year. Any changes to NFL Sunday ticket will have to wait until the start of the 2020 season. For now, what we are seeing is that the NFL is serious about moving away from DIRECTV as the sole provider of NFL Sunday Ticket and AT&T is removing the NFL Network from DIRECTV NOW and U-verse TV.
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